Do You Scroll Through Social Media Before You Sleep?

by Dr. Punita Rice Culture

What's your bedtime routine? (And do you check social media before you sleep?)

Do you scroll through social media before you sleep? Until recently, I would spend hours working on my laptop after my son was asleep. But that left me feeling agitated, and made it harder for me to fall asleep, so I made a conscious choice to stop working at night. (Now, I don’t keep my laptop in our bedroom anymore, so that solves that problem). But as soon as I stopped working at night, I started myself scrolling through my Instagram feed or reading my Twitter feed instead. I only just realized yesterday how dumb this is. I just replaced one bad habit with another (way less productive and more harmful) habit… so I’ve been thinking about being more intentional about my social media scrolling, and what I do before bed.

Being intentional about what you do before you sleep

The whole point of not working before sleeping anymore was to calm my mind before bed. My thinking was that I’d get more, and better, rest. So I’m positive that endlessly scrolling through Instagram and Twitter before I sleep isn’t the right thing for me to be doing. Especially Twitter, and especially with America being how it currently is. (Though that’s a much heavier topic for another post).

My brother and I were chatting this morning about how technology is taking over our lives, and he told me that he’s disabled push notifications from his social media apps, so that he can be intentional about when he wants to consume that content. I loved this idea and copied it immediately. Now, I’m thinking about taking it a step further and being more intentional about when, and for how long, I engage with social media.

Learning from babies

Every night, we do a bedtime routine with our son. A big component of it is that we always read books as a family, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. And it definitely winds him down before bed and makes getting him to sleep easier. In fact, the experts say that doing things like dimming the lights, reading quietly, and slowing things down can be really helpful in getting a baby ready to sleep.

The same should work for adults, right?

So tonight, while I’m probably still going to check social media (just keeping it real here, folks), I’ll limit myself to only doing so for a few minutes. Then, I’m going to read something not on Twitter or Instagram (I’m currently reading Roxane Gay’s Hunger) before I’m ready to close my eyes.

What about you? Do you scroll through social media before you sleep (and if so, are you trying to stop?) Do you think about being more intentional about how you use social media?

For those who are intentional about bedtime routines: What does your routine consist of? Do you drink chamomile tea? Do you read a book? Do you listen to music? Do you scroll through social media before you sleep (but limit your time)?

Do you scroll through social media before you sleep?

Babies have good bedtime routines.

P.S. – 5 tips for being more intentional about social media use, Man Repeller’s awesome roundtable on our addiction to social media, and zen habits on living intentionally.

(Photo at the top of my son and me is from about a year ago).

About the Author

Dr. Punita Rice

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Dr. Punita Rice is a wife and mama, an education researcher, a writer, the founder and director of ISAASE, and an advisor with Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Doctor of Education program. Her work centers around multicultural education and equity, and South Asian American experiences in school. You can read more about Punita and her work here. Punita also writes about life, culture, education, and motherhood here on her blog. She works from home in Maryland, and drinks a great deal of coffee.